LifeNews.com

Companies Stop Using Abortion Cells to Test Artificial Flavors

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 3/31/11 12:21 PM

National

Since a pro-life group announced that a biotech firm, Senomyx, is using aborted fetal cell lines to test their artificial flavor enhancers, two companies have announced they have disaffiliated with the firm.

The group Children of God for Life, earlier this week, called for a public boycott of major food companies partnering with Senomyx. Those companies included food giants PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup, Solae and Nestlé.

Within hours of its press statement to LifeNews.com, the pro-life group received notice from Campbell Soup that the company has severed its ties with Senomyx. Juli Mandel Sloves, Senior Manager of Nutrition & Wellness Communications at Campbell Soup Company, told Vinnedge, “We are no longer in partnership with Senomyx. This fact was discussed during the Senomyx conference call with its investors earlier this month.”

Now, Solae, LLC, indicates it, too, has severed its ties with the controversial biotech firm.

Solae spokeswoman Jennifer Starkey confirmed, “Thank you for contacting Solae with your concerns on this issue. Solae does not currently have an active relationship with Senomyx nor do we have any future plans for one at this time.”

“Our recent recognition by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the “World’s Most Ethical” companies for the second year in a row signifies how seriously we take ethical business practices both at Solae and with our collaborative partners. While we cannot speak to what Senomyx may or may not be doing to test food flavor enhancers, we can confirm that we are not involved in this for our products,” Starkey added. “We live by four core values at Solae which include ethical behavior, respect for people, safety and health and environmental stewardship. We take all of these very seriously, and expect the same out of our innovation partners.”

Debi Vinnedge, the director of the pro-life organization, informed LifeNews.com that in 2010, her group wrote to Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder and pointed out that moral options for testing their food additives could and should be used. But when Senomyx ignored her letter, the group  wrote to the companies Senomyx listed on their website as “collaborators” warning them of public backlash and threatened boycott.

“The company’s key flavor programs focus on the discovery and development of savory, sweet and salt flavor ingredients that are intended to allow for the reduction of MSG, sugar and salt in food and beverage products,” the Senomyx web site says. “Using isolated human taste receptors, we created proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems that provide a biochemical or electronic readout when a flavor ingredient interacts with the receptor.”

Vinnedge says a boycott is important because the collaborating companies provide Senomyx with research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients.

“What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors,” she said. “They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”

Vinnedge says she has contacted the food companies working with Senomyx, but said it took three letters before one company, Nestlé, finally admitted its relationship with Senomyx and company officials claimed the line of cells from abortions was “well established in scientific research”.

PepsiCo wrote: “We hope you are reassured to learn that our collaboration with Senomyx is strictly limited to creating lower-calorie, great-tasting beverages for consumers. This will help us achieve our commitment to reduce added sugar per serving by 25% in key brands in key markets over the next decade and ultimately help people live healthier lives.” 

ACTION: Contact the companies at:

Kent Snyder, CEO
Senomyx
4767 Nexus Centre Drive
San Diego, California 92121

Edmund M. Carpenter, CEO
Campbell Soup
1 Campbell Place
Camden, NJ 08103-1701

Paul Bulcke, CEO
Nestlé USA
800 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA  91203

Jamie Caulfield, Sr.VP
PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577

Irene Rosenfeld, CEO
Kraft Foods/Cadbury Chocolate
Three Lakes Drive
Northfield, IL 60093

Mr. Torkel Rhenman Chief Executive Officer
Solae
4300 Duncan Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63110